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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND, often referred to as "Cleveland's Citadel of Free Speech," provides a central meeting place for members of diverse beliefs and opinions to participate in free and open discussions on the social, political, and economic problems of the city, the state, the nation, and the world. The idea of a city club for Cleveland was formulated at an organizational luncheon on 14 June 1912. When the committee formed to consider the project returned a favorable report, the City Club was established, and at its first meeting on 30 Oct. DANIEL E. MORGAN† was elected president; EDWARD M. BAKER†, vice president; Amasa Stone Mather, treasurer; and MAYO FESLER†, secretary. In addition to the president, vice president and treasurer, the club's Board of Directors included Dr. ROBT. H. BISHOP, JR.†, Walter L. Flory, Geo. A. Welch, Arthur D. Baldwin, Rabbi MOSES J. GRIES†, Rev. Worth M. Tippy, STARR CADWALLADER†, ERIE C. HOPWOOD†, and Augustus R. Hatton. From its founding, the club resided at several downtown locations until 1929 when it moved into its own clubhouse at 712 Vincent Ave. It moved from the clubhouse to the Women's Federal Bldg. in 1971 and in 1982 it relocated to the Citizens Bldg.

The City Club Forum, a hallmark of the club, consisted of a formal (and often controversial) speech or a series of organized debates followed by a question-and-answer period involving audience participation. In 1995 the Forum continued to be taped for broadcast on WCLV-FM and WVIZ (Channel 25)-TV in Cleveland, and was also broadcast on 174 radio stations nationwide. In the 1990s the City Club also offered a student program, in which area high school students attending the Forum prepared for it with a study session, and afterward participated in a seminar with the Forum's guest. Another tradition was the club's ANVIL REVUE, a satirical musical written, acted, and staged by the members. The Revue, written for many years by Judge CARL D. FRIEBOLIN† and collaborator Joseph S. Newman, lampooned not only local citizens but state, national, and international events and personages as well. An annual feature of the City Club until 1976, the revue has since been revived occasionally.

Campbell, Thomas F. Freedom's Forum (1963).

City Club of Cleveland Records, WRHS.

Gottlieb, Mark. America's Soapbox: 75 years of Free Speaking at Cleveland's City Club Forum (1987).

Last Modified: 11 Jul 1997 01:45:45 PM

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